A decisive key to help grasp some of the essential points of what is happening around us.
The ninth part of Roberto Calasso’s masterwork, The Unnamable Present
, is closely connected with themes of the first book, The Ruin of Kasch
(originally published in 1983, and reissued by FSG in a new translation). But while Kasch
is an enlightened exploration of modernity, The Unnamable Present
propels us into the twenty first century.
Tourists, terrorists, secularists, fundamentalists, hackers, transhumanists, algorithmicians: these are all tribes that inhabit the unnamable present and act on its nervous system. This is a world that seems to have no living past, but was foreshadowed in the period between 1933 and 1945, when everything appeared bent on self-annihilation. The Unnamable Present
is a meditation on the obscure and ubiquitous process of transformation happening today in all societies, which makes so many previous names either inadequate or misleading or a parody of what they used to mean.
Translated with sensitivity by Calasso’s longtime translator, Richard Dixon, The Unnamable Present
is a strikingly original and provocative vision of our times, from the writer The Paris Review
called “a literary institution of one.”